As the mercury rises, your skin browns and the electricity bill skyrockets, take comfort in a body of water and a cool, boozy beverage. Whether you long for nature, luxury, comfort or convenience, let the Current be your guide to aquatic libation bliss.
Just a short jaunt up I-35 in New Braunfels on the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers, opportunities abound to engage in Central Texas’ favorite summer sport: tubing. However, nothing puts the kibosh on floating fun faster than a hefty fine, so be sure to leave all glass and Styrofoam at home. This means no bottled beer or wine, no cheap Styrofoam coolers and none of those embarrassingly wasteful printed Styro cups that native San Antonians regard as some kind of bizarre, environment-hating status symbol (I’m looking at you, Fiesta royalty). Instead, fill your cooler with some refreshing, local canned brews (and maybe some water).
This time of year, Real Ale Brewing Company in Blanco releases White, a delicious summer seasonal with unmalted wheat, orange peel and coriander. With a nod to traditional Belgian-style Witbier, White is as hoppy as Real Ale’s IPA and fairly low in alcohol (4.6 percent ABV). Pick up a sixer at Spec’s around town for about $8, and don’t forget the ice.
Branchline Brewing’s Evil Owl Amber, another local brew available in the can, offers a malty, full-bodied option. Reminiscent of the ambers by Fat Tire or Full Sail, this moderately carbonated and hopped ale yields a smooth, almost caramel finish. A six-pack of Evil Owl will also run you just over $8 at Spec’s.
If Mother Nature ain’t your girl, a more luxurious option for drankin’ in and around the water is found at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort’s Lantana Spa (23808 Resort Parkway). Pamper yourself at the spa and then stay to enjoy the serene outdoor adults-only pool (separate from the main hotel pool), steam room, sauna, hot tubs and more. Non-guests can purchase a day pass to the spa for $30, but numbers are limited so call ahead on the day of your visit to verify availability.
The JW’s Replenish Bistro services the spa, with snacks aplenty and a drink menu of assorted reds, whites and bubbles that cost $9 a glass and a sweet sangria bursting with fresh fruit for $12.
For a cheaper option that feels just as classy, bust out the bubbly and whip up your own refreshing cocktail. Based on a recipe from theeffortlesschic.com, this summer berry sparkler is sure to hit the spot—and not your wallet.
Summer Berry Sparkler
1 bottle of dry Champagne
4 ounces of gin
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup blackberries
Several sprigs of thyme or rosemary
Sugar for the rim of the glass (if you’re feeling fancy)
Whip up berry simple syrup by bringing water, sugar and berries (reserve 1 to 2 per glass for garnish) to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes, until liquid is bright pink or purple, then remove berries and allow syrup to cool.
If the spirit moves you, adorn your champagne flute with sugar before proceeding to the next drink-making steps. Pro-tip from the original recipe’s creator: With a tiny bit of butter between your index finger and thumb, coat the rim of the glass. You can’t taste it (verified) and the sugar actually sticks.
To make the cocktail, drop a few berries in the bottom of each flute, add 1 ounce each of chilled gin and simple syrup, then top with Champagne. Garnish with a sprig of your favorite savory herb and voila: a classy-ass summer cocktail. Opt for a plastic flute if you’re planning on indulging poolside.
And finally, for the least fancy but most convenient option, there’s always the boozetacular drive-thru heaven of Beer N’ All. With three locations around town, the bar-to-go serves mixed and frozen adult concoctions available in 12-, 20- and 32-ounce Styrofoam cups that are hermetically sealed (maybe that’s an exaggeration) in plastic bags to reduce the temptation to imbibe during your drive home.
Keep these drinks away from rivers and children, and enjoy such libations as Marvin the Martian (a cherry margarita, $4 to $6.50 depending on size), the Galaxy (prickly pear, blue Hawaiian mix, lime, rum and vodka, also $4 to $6.50) or the patriotic American Dream (four shots of whiskey with a bunch of other blue sweet shit), which clocks in at $10.50 for a 32-ounce serving. God bless America!